The final issue of The Lonesome Hunters has finally arrived, and whilst I’m happy to have the next chapter in this hugely enjoyable series in front of me, it’s bittersweet, as this is the final issue of the initial four part mini-series, and it means we could be waiting a while to get more.
Last issue, Howard had travelled with Lupe in order to return a watch to the Magpie Queen, a supernatural entity that has been targeting the two of them. However, when he entered the abandoned house he was quickly attacked by the creature, who also wanted the magical sword that Howard has in his possession; a magical sword that he’d left in the car with Lupe.
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This issue we pick up in the middle of the action as Lupe realises that something’s wrong, and that Howard is in danger. Having lost all of her family, everyone that she’s ever cared about, Lupe has to face the idea that she might lose Howard too. Although they’ve only really known each other for a few days, the old man is pretty much all that she has in the world, and so Lupe steps up and tries to save Howard. But will it be enough?
A lot of times in stories where a young hero learns about the world of magic and monsters and is thrust into a situation where they have to fight to survive it tends to be something that happens very quickly. They find themselves having to take up a weapon or die in the heat of battle, and don’t really have time consider their actions. Tyler Crook has kind of done the opposite here; he has Lupe away from the danger, away from the action, able to sit there and weigh up her options. She’s forced to confront the gravity of the situation and consider her future, and I think that it makes her ultimate choice to pick up the sword and rush into battle mean a little more. She’s thought about it, and this is the choice that she’s come to.
And whilst this issue has some action and some horror, it’s not really about that, but the characters. We spend the required time on the conclusion of this particular arc, and we get to see some cool stuff, but the focus is really on the characters, their relationship to each other, and their feelings. The best scenes in this book aren’t when Lupe has to charge into battle, or when the Magpies go up against her, they’re the ones where she and Howard are just talking. I came to this series hoping for some cool supernatural action, and whilst I got that, what I got more of was a series that has a lot of heart.
Crook seems to care less about the amazing world he’s crafting, and more about what that means for these two people. Some writers clearly want to tell stories where amazing things happen, and you can see where the characters are just being moved from one explosion or fight to the next, where the spectacle is the point. But here it’s the opposite. The big moments are the things that break up the important ones. This isn’t two characters getting swept up in a story that’s bigger than them, this is a story about these two people, their experiences, and their emotions. The stuff that’s happening around them is almost secondary. And this makes The Lonesome Hunters an incredibly strong series. The next arc could just be four issues of Howard and Lupe driving to the next stage on their journey, chatting shit bout their lives, their hobbies, and I’d eat that up.
I’m honestly mad that this series is over, for now at least, as it’s been one of the best things I’ve had to pleasure to read each month. If Dark Horse don’t bring out the next stage in this story soon I’m going to be very upset, as I need more. And the fact that it’s this great, whilst being written and drawn by one person is absolutely astonishing.
The Lonesome Hunters #4 is out now from Dark Horse.